YouTube is once again changing communications on its video site, after it announced plans to retire Channel owners’ inboxes and introduce a new messaging system to reduce spam and general clutter.

The company upset some channel owners by relocating their inboxes to a less than obvious place in the dashboard, following the introduction of Google+-powered comments last year. Now it is doing away with them altogether. As an initial step, inboxes will become read-only, with no ability to send or receive new messages. After that, they will be removed entirely.

The company says content with inboxes will remain in tact for “the next few months” — in the meantime, Channel owners can download their content, as explained here.

So what is YouTube introducing instead?

A new Messages feature (which can be found at is rolling out this week. It includes threaded conversations, an easier way for fans to contact Channel owners, and improved filtering of spam and junk mail. People may be pleased to hear that messaging is not synced to Google+, or at least it seems that way from our initial testing.

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YouTube is also making some changes to the way that Channel owners deal with comments. The update will allow them to find comments specifically from subscribers, popular comments, and comments for any single video. There will also be an improvement to bulk comment approvals, and YouTube is adding keyword and hashtag support to comment search too.

Image via Rego Korosi / Flickr